Time is going so quickly.
Can you relate? Nothing makes you feel the years slipping by quite as much as having a high schooler.
As I process my kids quickly getting older, it has me reflecting on what things I do with my time, how we interact as a family, making memories, and doing things that make our spirits full of purpose and JOY.
Two things that I love are playing with my family and being in nature.
There is something so special when that combination intersects. Times slows down. I have always loved collecting little sticks, shells, leaves and bits from my time outdoors. As a kid, I used to ask to go on family hikes for my birthday celebrations. Being in nature takes me back to my roots and smooths the stress of the world for a bit, so when I come out of it, I am better for it.
One day, I had this idea of creating a nature shelf. I was staring at this little shelf in my kitchen holding pictures and art and thinking how special it would be to have a nature version. I pictured a shelf dedicated to holding small things collected out doors, yet I knew it would be collecting so much more than just those treasures. Let me show you what I mean.
I went to Hobby Lobby one day for paint and as Hobby Lobby can do, it had me wandering all the other aisles. I saw that wood shelf above and immediately recalled my need for a nature shelf, so I brought it home and played around with where it would go.
Since we are a family of artists, we don’t have a lot of empty walls in our house. The walls are full of our passions, creative processes and journeys of exploration in time and who we are. I view them as a living museum of us. But, I found a space for this new shelf. It would live in my art room. Right where I sew, paint my journals, and even type this message out to you.
A few weeks passed and nothing happened to my shelf, but then we left for spring break and guess what we found!?
We found shells! The first two days of our break, I sat in a chair happily just decompressing and watching my kids play and enjoy their youth. It was like my body literally was saying, “It’s ok to just be.” Then I found myself walking, reading, playing, and the shell hunt began.
I am an Enneagram 4 (a creative with all kinds of feels) so it’s probably no surprise that I now look back at these shells collected, and I remember the joy of the moment, the fun of the hunt, the youthful innocence in each of us as we shared the joy of new treasures with one another.
We had brainstormed best ways to collect, techniques to try as we waded through the cold waters, and light heartily embraced pain as broken shells hit our ankles in the hunt.
The shells are like souvenirs of memories made with my family. The nature shelf holds those shells and those memories on display.
This nature shelf represents me slowing down and making time to see beauty in the everyday ordinary things and the most of each moment. How often do we walk past a bed of flowers, blooming tree, or intricate stick and miss that extreme beauty because we are racing to our next thing? How often are we sitting with our people but not really sitting with our people?
I’m really excited to have this growing reminder to tell me to slow down, notice the everyday beauty and make more moments count with my family.
There’s lots of empty squares on this shelf. I can’t wait for summer and warmer weather to finally arrive, so I can do more fun outside with my people. My shelf treasures will grow as a result as well.
What about you? What is a reminder you hold that allows to pull you out of the fast pace and make time for that inner child in you to play with your family? It’s never too late to start something new.
Do you want a nature shelf too? See my shelf come alive in this short YouTube video.